We started a tradition a few years ago. It was a tradition that evolved from a problem that needed to be solved. Prior to Tyler joining our family Toby and I had date night every Thursday evening. It started when Gracie turned 12. She was allowed to begin babysitting and we no longer had to pay a sitter. It was our chance to run our errands, grocery shop for the week and have a dinner date. It was a perfect way to “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak. We had uninterrupted time together and it made grocery shopping something to look forward to rather than something I dreaded doing.
When Tyler moved in we were no longer able to go out on our date night since Gracie wasn’t allowed to watch him (as a foster kid) so our date night became a “movie in bed” date night and I was back to grocery shopping on my own. One day I realized I was wasting an opportunity to have one-on-one time with the kids and started taking one of them with me on Wednesday nights when I shopped and thus was born- “Date night with Mom.”
The kids get their date night every 5 weeks. The cycle begins with Grace and goes oldest to youngest. Date night typically consists of my helper helping me fill the gas tank, clean out the car, grocery shop and run any extra errands that pertain to them and their most pressing needs. It is on their date night that we tackle shoe shopping, trying on swim suits, getting a haircut, etc. I find if we do these tasks (that are needed but that I often dread dealing with) when it is just the two of us it can be a lot of fun…much more fun than trying on shoes with 5 kids! Our date night also affords us the additional benefit of getting to have open heart to heart talks about the things they have been thinking/worrying/dreaming about. The kids talk openly and share in a different way than they do at home with siblings nearby.
The kids look forward to their date night and often give their restaurant and their shopping list a lot of thought in the weeks prior to their date. The benefit of being Mom’s shopping helper is the child on date night gets to make grocery decisions like what cereal our family will be eating that week, our Family Night treat and what fruits we will buy. So the benefit of date night lasts all week-long as they enjoy their food and drink preferences.
Last night was Ozzie’s date night. Our first stop was to get his hair cut. Although he really didn’t care for the haircutting he did love the shampooing. At first I thought he was excited to get his hair cut because of the novelty of the experience, the sweet-smelling shampoo, or just the sensation of having his hair washed (I know that is always my favorite part!) but it wasn’t until he jumped down from the wash sink seat that I realized the real reason he wanted it washed.
“Now I don’t have to take a bath for three days..Woo Woo!!” he yelled as he skipped by me.
“How do you figure that?” I asked
He looked at me with his exasperated 16-year-old girl look and said, pointing at his head, “I have shampoo in here.”
To which I explained, “Unless you had your whole body washed in the hair sink you will still need a bath.” 🙂
As the lady cut Ozzie’s hair she visited with him and asked him questions. At one point she asked him where he got his beautiful blue eyes from. He answered, “I was born with them.”
She smiled and said, “I bet you got them from your Mom. You look just like her.”
Ozzie quickly corrected her, “Oh, my mom didn’t born me.” Then with typical Ozzie enthusiasm he declared, “But she’s adopting me!”
I was thinking about her comment and Ozzie’s response after the fact and it brought to mind a quote I found online a few days ago:
Our skin doesn’t match. You don’t have my eyes or mouth, and our faces aren’t the same shape. I don’t know what it is like to look at you and catch a glimpse of myself as a child. What I see in you is far more beautiful than that. When I look at you I see the hand of God in my life.” – Christy Wagner
What a beautiful gift it is to look into my son’s eyes and see God’s hand.
After we finished shopping we headed to Pizza Hut for dinner. This was Ozzie’s choice. The kids get to pick where they want to go for dinner. The only rule is that they have to feed both of us for $10. At Pizza Hut we ordered the dinner box which included a medium pizza (Ozzie chose mushroom pizza), 5 bread sticks, and 10 cinnamon sticks for $9.99. As we waited for our food to be brought out we played the “get to know you” game and took turns asking each other questions.
Here are some of the things I learned about my son last night.
All about Ozzie 101
His favorite color: Blue
His favorite food: Pizza
His favorite candy: Rainbow Nerds
His favorite thing to read about: Weather
His favorite drink: Orange Juice
His favorite holiday: Christmas, because we celebrate Jesus’ birth
What he wants to be when he grows up: A construction worker who drives big machines
His best talent: Magic (making balls disappear)
His favorite thing about school: Lunch
If he could change one thing about himself: He wishes he were taller (95 feet tall to be exact)
His favorite movie: Cars or The Lego Movie
His greatest fear: Thunderstorms
The 3 things he would take to a deserted island: Big screen TV, video games, and a missile
If he could go back in time to any time in history he would choose: 1981 (because he always wanted to live a long time ago)
My final question was:
“What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?”
“Having you guys adopt me and be my family forever.”
As I knelt beside my bed last night I thanked God for my many blessings
especially this little blue-eyed boy
who helps me to see more clearly
the hand of God in my life.